ON THE SPOT WITH LARRY REGAN
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|Mike Kalinowski continued his On The Spot With series, this week meeting with Larry Regan.
Positions With The Kings: General Manager of the Kings from 1967-73, Head Coach of the Kings for the 1970-71 season and the start of the 1971-72 season.
Born: Aug. 9, 1930 (North Bay, Ontario)
Hired By The Kings: Regan was hired by owner Jack Kent Cooke as the first General Manager of the Kings in 1966. The following is an excerpt from his bio that appeared in the Kings’ 1967-68 media guide:
Brash confidence has always been Larry Regan’s trademark, and it should stand him in good stead in his first fling as an NHL General Manager…The 37-year-old Regan has a lot of Irish in him; a ready smile, a gift of gab and an attitude that life is a perpetual challenge, so let’s get at it…He was a cocky, confident 16-year-old when he first went to an NHL training camp…Ten years later, still cocky and confident, he finally crashed the NHL, and typically Regan, did so with a flourish: He won the Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year with the Boston Bruins in 1956-57…An expert skater and stickhandler and a penalty-killer who often scored when his team was short-handed, Larry played five years in the NHL, two and a half with Boston and Toronto…He had the frustrating fate of never being on a Stanley Cup winner despite reaching the finals four years in succession and each time seeing his hopes dashed by the powerful Montreal Canadiens.
“I knew Jack from the years I played in Toronto,” said Regan in a recent interview from his home in Ottawa. “We became pretty good friends along the way and stayed in touch. When I heard about the NHL expanding, I put my oar in the water with Jack before anybody else and I was fortunate enough to be chosen.”
Regan finished his NHL career with the Leafs in 1960-61, spent one year as a player/coach with Pittsburgh of the American Hockey League in 1961-62, and then went to Austria for three years as a manager and coach of a team in Innsbruck. Regan returned to America and joined Baltimore of the AHL as a player for the 1965-66 season. After that, he ended his playing career to become Head Scout for the expansion Kings, who would begin play in the NHL the following season. Regan spent the next year traveling coast-to-coast in preparation for the NHL’s historic Expansion Draft in June of 1967, and he was officially named the first GM in Kings history following that draft.
The next order of business for Regan was finding a head coach, and he did just that by acquiring the rights to Red Kelly from Toronto for Ken Block on June 8, 1967.
Career With The Kings:
Regan was once fined $1,000 by NHL President Clarence Campbell for punching Referee Bruce Hood in the face following a Kings game in Oakland on October 13, 1968. In a Los Angeles Times story from October 15 of that year, Regan admits to hitting Hood, saying “Someone had to do something with officiating like that.” Regan was upset after a late penalty cost the Kings a victory against the Seals. The incident that infuriated Regan involved the Kings Dale Rolfe and the Seals Carol Vadnais, with Vadnais opening a four-stitch cut on the left side of Rolfe’s head. Rolfe retaliated with an overhead chop of his stick that just missed Vadnais’ head. Hood gave each player two minutes for slashing and then added another five minute major penalty to Rolfe, who was caught in the act. According to the article, Hood had apparently not witnessed Vadnais’ blood-drawing move that started the whole episode. In the same article, Regan promised a “blood bath” when the Kings next played Boston because another one of his players, Brent Hughes, had been cut badly by a Boston player at the Forum the previous year. Even though the promised “blood bath” never materialized, Regan’s statement certainly made the game a must-see affair. Kings beat Boston before 10,280 fans in their home opener at the Forum a few nights later on October 18, 1968. Less than 1,500 tickets had been sold for the game before Regan’s promised “blood bath” made the paper.
What He’s Doing Now:
Regan lives in Ottawa with his wife Pauline, and even though he’s bothered by a number of health issues, he was recently featured in the Ottawa Citizen as reporter Kelly Egan chronicled his long and successful career in the sport of hockey. Click Here to read the article that appeared in the Oct. 5 edition of the paper.
For more information on Larry Regan and other figures in Kings history, visit www.lakings.com/history.